During summer, we might be tempted to stay out in the scorching sun for too long, and this can cause our hair to be exposed to harsh influences with lots of negative after-effects. Just as it can damage our skin, the sun can damage our hair and scalp. Dry and hot weather can take away the moisture from our skin, scalp and hair and make them lifeless or even burnt.
Over-exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, as well as sweat, humidity and sea salt in addition to spending too much time in chlorinated water can all be damaging for the hair. The heat of the sun can also cause discolouration, clearly obvious in coloured or bleached hair.
Luckily, with the right hair-care precautions, you can protect your hair from the sun, harsh heat and humidity while enjoying your summer.
Here are some tips to avoid sun-damaged hair:
Use hats and scarves:
Always cover the hair before leaving the house. Use hats, scarves, bandanas or an umbrella to protect your hair from harmful rays.
Oil your hair:
Massaging regularly with oils like coconut oil, olive oil or sweet almond oil can increase the blood circulation in the scalp and moisturise your hair. You can add a few drops of essential oil like lavender. Use the oil in moderate quantities on each application, though, as otherwise your hair will need greater quantities of shampoo to wash it off, and this twin excess can be traumatic to the hair.
Use the right shampoos and conditioners:
Using a moisturising shampoo and conditioner with sunscreen is important to prevent extra dryness and the fizz that can come with it. Consider deep-conditioning treatments for extra moisture. Conditioning helps to add a layer of protection to hair cuticles that can be prone to damage by environmental aggressors. You can also apply a thin layer of coconut oil or conditioner to your hair before jumping into the pool or the sea in order to protect it.
Trim your hair:
Summer is the ideal time to give yourself a new haircut or to opt for regular trims that will keep your hair in good condition and reduce the risk of split ends. Regular trims every two to four weeks can bring even the most damaged hair back to life.
Avoid chemical processing:
Summer is not a hair-friendly season in which to undergo harsh treatments. So, say no to colouring, bleaching, stripping or excessive salon hair-styling.
Limit blow dryers and hot irons:
Minimise the use of heat-styling tools like blow dryers, straighteners and curlers. The heat they generate can add to the existing summer heat and damage the hair follicles, causing the pores of the scalp to open up and leading dirt and pollution to enter and weaken the roots. So, apply a softening mousse to the hair and go for more natural hairstyles.
Apply UV protection:
Hair care products today are effective against the harmful ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) given out by the sun. Yet, they may also be filled with toxic chemicals. So, it’s advisable to run your hands gently through your hair after you’ve applied sunscreen to your face or hands.
Tie up your hair:
Try hairstyles like ponytails, buns or twists in summer, which can not only limit exposure to sun, but also avoid damage from sweating. But stay away from tight rubber bands or hair accessories that tie the hair in tightly, as these can lead to roughness.
Try putting yoghurt on your scalp for 15 minutes and then rinsing off. Yoghurt nourishes the hair and repairs hair damage and is one of the simplest home remedies available to repair damaged hair.
Use aloe vera:
Mix some fresh aloe vera pulp with a few drops of lemon juice and apply it to your hair. Wash off after 15 minutes. Aloe vera hydrates and nourishes the hair and prevents aging and dryness. It can also help to reduce hair loss, stimulate hair growth and protect against free radical damage and UV rays.
Apply a honey and olive oil mask:
Mix three to four tablespoons of honey with one tablespoon of olive oil. You can also add an egg yolk to the mixture. Apply this mask to the hair and wash off after 15 to 20 minutes. Honey and olive oil are excellent emollients and can hydrate dry hair and make it healthier.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 20 August, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly